There is no other breed like the Pug. Not only does he look distinctive, but he has a character like no other. His furrowed brow may make him appear perpetually worried, but beneath the wrinkles lies a happy-go-lucky dog with a clown-like personality. Ask Pug owners to describe their dogs, and the same words crop up time and again: ‘loving’, ‘intelligent’, ‘alert’, and ‘inquisitive. However, one word appears more than any other – ‘fun’! This is a dog that will keep you amused for hours with his antics, and who will thrive on your smiles and laughter. Once you have shared your home and your life with one of these unique dogs, you will understand the breed motto: Multum in parvo – a lot of dog in a small place! The first recorded appearance of the word pug in the English language occurred in 1566. Pug was a term of endearment then, applied to persons but rarely to animals. By 1600 pug had acquired two additional meanings: “courtesan” and “bargeman”. These would appear to be strange bedfellows, linguistically at least, but pug did not stop there in its acquisition of new themes. By 1664 pug also meant “demon,” “imp,” “sprite,” “monkey,” and “ape.” Not until the middle of the next century, according to The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), did pug come to mean “a dwarf breed of dog resembling a bull-dog in miniature”. The OED also added that the pug “on account of its affectionate nature [was] much kept as a pet.” So much that in 1749 David Garrick, an English actor and theatrical manager, wrote “A fine lady… keeps a pug-dog and hates the Parsons.” Some disagreement exists regarding the manner in which pug came to be applied to these endearing, impish, sprite like, solid-as-a-barge, sometimes demonic little monkeys that were great favorites at court if not with courtesans. Many observers believe that pug first was applied to monkeys and, after certain facial resemblances between monkeys and the little dogs with the curly tails had been noted, the word was applied to the dogs, too. (This application was noted as early as 1731 in England.) Persons subscribing to this theory point out that pugs were called pug dogs originally to distinguish them from pug monkeys. Other observers wrote that the pug was derived from the Latin pugmus, meaning “fist,” because to some people the Pug’s profile resembled a clenched fist. Still others believe pug is a corruption of Puck, the name of the mischievous fairy in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The puckish nature of the Pug would seem to support this theory, but the OED does not. After acknowledging that pug “agrees completely in sense with Puck,” the OED cautions that pug “is not easily accounted for as a mere phoenetic variant” of Puck. Like so many questions regarding animal history, the matter of how the Pug got its name – and how that name eventually came to be written in some contexts with a capital P-in the end devolves to a no-one-can-be-certain resolution. Our money is on the borrowed-from-the-monkey-name theory: but before we leave this question, we should point out that Pug also has been applied to lambs, hares, squirrels, ferrets, salmon, moths, small locomotives, foxes, trout, clay, and the footprints of any beast. Anent the capital P, this convention is followed in books about dog breeds and in other breed-related contexts, but in civilian writing the only words capitalized in breed names are proper nouns that would be capitalized in any context. II. Origin
In china, there has been a long breed of dog known as the Happa which is similar to a smooth-coated Pekingese. Indeed, many people believed that the Happa may be the progenitor of Pug. Short-mouthed dogs in China are known as Lo-sze and although they may well have been known there as far back as 1115BC, there is no record of them until 663BC. The Lo-sze had clear features distinguishing it from the Pekingese: the muzzle was different, the coat was short, and the ears were small and...
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